John McCain’s pastor problem, part 2, in the form of Reverend Rod Parsley, can be summed up in the minister’s own words about Islam. Parsley’s remarks – quoted below – are ones that cannot be made in the modern world without blowback. Now McCain has rejected Parsley’s support as a result. No matter, their association helped push McCain past Mike Huckabee, which is what mattered at the time. The question is: How far wrong is Reverend Parsley?
Reverend Rod Parsley:
I cannot tell you how important it is that we understand the true nature of Islam, that we see it for what it really is. In fact, I will tell you this: I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam. I know that this statement sounds extreme, but I do not shrink from its implications. The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore.
Strong words and a strong call to arms. I, like most Americans, wouldn’t be willing to go as far. Yet from the Christian perspective it’s clear that Islam, while partially based on the Judaism, is fundamentally incompatible with the Christian belief that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.
Many readers will, of course, reject that notion out of hand, make relatively little distinction between Islam and Christianity, and fail to see the conflict. The articles of faith in question prohibit reconciliation. In the absence of final truth, agreeing to disagree in peace is the best possible outcome for our two philosophies.
True believers in Christianity must regard Islam as a false religion, as Parsley does. The question is how we should live in a world whose peace, order, and prosperity have been put at risk because of Islamic-based terrorism.
That risk is quite real, as recent events in Iraq, with Ayatollah Sistani endorsing violence against American troops – the only thing keeping his country from descending into a national bloodbath – and in England, where Muslim extremists duped a mentally ill man into attempting a terrorist attack demonstrate.
Truth be told, the extent of the average American’s interest in Islam is that it’s the ruling religion in a region from which we buy far too much oil. At heart we are interested only a commercial relationship with Islamic nations, something that logically ought to be achievable through peaceful means, despite the fundamental conflict in our religious beliefs and social values.
This, I think, was one of Ron Paul’s points during the Republican primary season, although he never communicated it as directly. But is such a relationship realistic? Would a fully Islamic Saudi Arabia, for example, continue to pump oil to the west? At what price and reliability? Or would they use their power over the west to strangle what many Muslim leaders regard as the evil of democracy? And would they continue to immigrate, legally and otherwise, with the intent of spreading Islam into the west in hopes of eventually coming to control nations that are currently democratic?
Again, then – how far wrong is Reverend Parsley?